Economy

United Kingdom confirms Murdoch's Sky bid will be examined over broadcasting standards

United Kingdom confirms Murdoch's Sky bid will be examined over broadcasting standards

Last year, 21st Century Fox bid £11.4 billion ($15.1 billion, 12.7 billion euros) for the 61-percent of Sky it does not already own.

The British government on Thursday referred a planned takeover of pan-European satellite TV giant Sky by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox entertainment group to United Kingdom regulators for an in-depth probe.

In June, she told MPs that Ofcom's report was "unambiguous" and said the transaction "raises public concerns as a result of the risk of increased influence by member of the Murdoch Family Trust over the United Kingdom new agenda".

That confirmed updated plans she had unveiled on Tuesday.

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"Yesterday I received letters on behalf of both parties to the merger confirming that while they disagree with my minded-to decision, they would not be making substantive representations in relation to it", Bradley told the British parliament on Thursday.

In a statement, the Culture Secretary said that the CMA will focus on "the genuine commitment to broadcasting standards as well as media plurality grounds".

It had been expected that Bradley would order an inquiry by the competition regulator on the grounds of media plurality.

"I will issue and publish my formal referral decision in the coming days".

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A previous attempt by Fox to buy Sky was abandoned in the midst of the phone hacking scandal in 2011.

"Sky plc notes today's announcement by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the proposed acquisition of Sky by 21st Century Fox", Sky said.

The Competition and Markets Authority now has 24 weeks to investigate the Fox-Sky deal.

Fox will have to pay Sky £200 million ($265 million) as a break fee if the new deal falls apart. "We now, therefore, look forward to engaging constructively with the CMA, as independent authority, and hope that the findings of this process will be respected" by Bradley, Fox said.

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